Conflict Resolution: Understanding the Cause and Cure of any Argument

In this article you’ll discover the underlying cause of any conflict/argument and the mindset that ends (and prevents) them.

It’s a Law of Nature that things only come into being when the environmental conditions are right.

This is true of everything, including conflicts and arguments.

For an argument to happen, the right conditions must be in place.

The Right Conditions

How often do you find yourself arguing or defending your position?

How important is it for you to be “right”?

Be careful here… this is where trouble lives.

The need to be right is the environment that supports and sustains Conflict.

With the current number of conflicts happening globally, it would seem that our world culture is overly driven by the need to be “right”.

In this article, you’ll learn how being “right” is a lie and how you can create a peaceful environment for yourself and those around you as the foundation of a happier and more prosperous life.

Shall we?

Let’s begin with a story….

The Parable of 3 Blind Men and an Elephant

Three blind men are out for a walk when they bump into something very strange and they all fall to the ground.

“What was that?!” asked the the first man loudly in astonishment.

“I don’t know!” exclaimed the second man. “Neither do I.” said the third.

From off in the distance, the three blind men heard another man yell, “It’s an elephant!”

“An elephant? Have you two ever heard of an elephant before?” the first man asked.

“NO.” came their reply echoing in unison. “Well,” said the first, “I intend to find out!”

The first blind man came upon the elephant’s tail and while grasping it, he exclaimed “Gentlemen! The elephant is like a rope!”

The second blind man was feeling the elephant’s front right leg and said, “No, the elephant is like a tree!”

Meanwhile, the third blind man, was feeling the elephant’s left ear when he retorted, ”You are both wrong! The elephant is clearly like a palm leaf!”

At this juncture, our story can end in one of two ways- conflict or peace.

Let’s begin with the first ending and see what happens….

STORY ENDING #1 (First Half)

When the first man hears the other two men’s descriptions of the elephant, he is outraged! “You men are insane. The elephant is clearly like a rope!”

“I’m insane?” screamed the second man, “did your mother drop you on your head as a child? The elephant is clearly like a tree!”

“The two of you should be locked up!” shouted the third blind man. “Any sane man can tell that the elephant is obviously like a palm leaf!”

INTERLUDE

At this point in the story, these three blind men are firmly holding to their positions and disagreeing with the other two. They fight amongst each other over who is ‘right’.

This means something very strange has happened: Each man is taking the other men’s opinions personally.

Taking things personally can only happen when you stop listening TO the actual words being said and start listening FOR what those words “mean about you”.

So when Blind Man #3 says, “The elephant is like a palm leaf“, the other two men are not ‘hearing’ what he is actually saying.

They are ‘hearing’ this man ‘say’ that they are incapable of making accurate or valuable observations so their points-of-view are irrelevant and don’t matter.

Their discussion is no longer about the elephant.

It’s now about the value of each man, his opinion, and …fundamentally, from a purely emotional level, his right to exist.

How did this happen?

It was guided by an emotion arising out of self-doubt.

Self-doubt is what supports the need to be “right”.

The Emotional Filter of Self-Doubt

Each different emotion is a filter that influences what we notice and pay attention to.

For example, what you notice when you’re happy is different from what you notice when you’re angry.

When the second blind man told the first, “You’re wrong”, it set a new emotion into play – the emotion of self-doubt.

Hearing the word “wrong”, triggered Blind Man #1 to briefly question himself and suddenly, he felt doubtful.

Feeling doubtful, his emotional train of thought had changed tracks: “If ‘I’ am wrong then ‘I’ don’t matter – which means ‘I’ am worthless – which means it doesn’t make a difference if ‘I’ live or die – .”

To his brain, these thoughts were recognized as a threat to his well-being and his Survival Instinct came online.

He must protect himself. The other men’s opinions have become threats to him. He must reject them.

Remember, none of this is happening consciously. I am simply giving a voice to what happened to the first man’s emotional state and how it influenced his mind.

This same inner process happened to all the men within a split second.

To protect their positions, these men must close the doors to their mind and prevent the entry of any new information that could weaken their positions by causing them to question themselves.

In this state, the men can no longer be reasoned with – they have become unreasonable. They are now acting from a place of pure emotion. The blood has left the pre-frontal cortex of their brain and they are literally hindered from reasoning or thinking logically.

Each man, thinking he IS his point of view, has created his own personal hell by feeling that the other two men are enemies that seek to destroy him with their opposing views.

This is insanity. Truly. As you’ll soon see…

STORY ENDING #1 (continued)

The three blind men continue to argue and insult each other because, at a purely irrational and emotional level, they are ultimately fighting to defend the idea that they are not worthless and have the right to exist. They have become their opinions.

The emotions escalate and they become physically violent. The three men fight in an enraged state until two men lay dead.

The first blind man is the victor of their battle and, exhausted, he leans up against the elephant’s front right leg to rest. Breathing deeply, the blood has returned to his frontal cortex and he becomes aware of what he’s leaning against.

The man quickly turns around to feel what most definitely feels like a tree. His heart sinks. Raising his hands, he feels what seems to be a palm leaf!

The blood drains from his face now as he realizes the greater truth:

All the men were right …AND all the men were wrong.

Now two men lay dead… and for what?

Debrief

The problem here is one of unconsciousness – a lack of self-awareness. Each man was victimized by the belief that he was his point-of-view.

Here’s the truth: You are NOT your point-of-view. You are the ‘Viewer’.

Your point-of-view (the place from which you view life) is something you can change (anytime) and therefore something you can choose.

You can choose to stand in a valley or a mountaintop. Neither place is ‘you’. It’s just a place you stand.

Each point-of-view gives you access to some information while denying access to other information.

Every point-of-view, every opinion, is a merely fragment of a much larger truth.

This means that every point-of-view contains some truth and mostly assumption. So, the more points-of-view you look at life from, the more access you have to the greater truth.

We gain access to a greater truth when we allow others to have their opinions and then learn from them by viewing life through their eyes.

Let’s see how this story ends if we go back in time with the three blind men and send them down a different path:

STORY ENDING #2

The first blind man came upon the elephant’s tail and while grasping it, he exclaimed “Gentlemen! The elephant is like a rope!”

The second blind man was feeling the elephant’s front right leg and said, “No, the elephant is like a tree!”

Meanwhile, the third blind man, was feeling the elephant’s left ear when he retorted, ”You are both wrong! The elephant is clearly like a palm leaf!”

Here, the first man became curious. He asked the second man, “A tree you say? Call out to me, I wish to find you where you are. I would like to feel this ‘tree’ you talk about.”

With that, the first man came up to the second and felt the elephant’s right leg and exclaimed, “Ah yes! It does feel like a tree. Interesting. Please come with me and allow me to show you something.”

The second man followed the first and came upon the elephant’s tail. “Oh my, it does feel like a rope!”

Hearing this, the third man cried out, “What are you two talking about? All I can feel is something like a palm leaf!”

“Call out to us,” answered the second man, “and we will come and find you.”

The first two blind men met up with the third and felt the ‘palm leaf’ then proceeded to share their own discoveries with him. At this, they all laughed and decided to explore more of the elephant together to see what more they might find.

Debrief

There was no argument here. The first man, knowing that all people’s points-of-view have value, became curious about how the other man’s perception could be so different from his.

The second man’s opinion did not cause the first blind man to question himself, only his point-of-view. So, his potential self-doubt was starved and could not grow into a negative emotion.

Instead, curiosity caused the first man to be willing to understand the other two men.

When he acknowledged the value of the second man’s opinion, the second man felt validated and became willing to understand the first man.

This set into motion an emotion of compassion – the willingness to understand another from the other’s point of view.

THE POWER OF CURIOSITY

Curiosity is a state of wonder where you subconsciously ask a number of questions all at once.

It throws open the doors to your mind allowing new information to come in like a cross-breeze freshening once stagnant air.

Curiosity was made possible in Story Ending #2 because it stemmed out of the understanding that all points-of-view are fragments of a greater truth and therefore valuable and important.

In order for you to “see” from the another perspective, you must first want to.

Curiosity gives you this desire. It is the desire for a greater truth.

I call it “cure-iosity” because it helps cure conflict.

THE MORAL OF THE STORY

Recognizing that all perspectives have value is the soil in which curiosity – the willingness to understand – grows.

This willingness to understand is the environment that supports Compassion, Friendship, and lasting Peace.

Self-doubt – questioning your own value – is the soil in which insecurity and the ‘need to be right’ grows.

Self-doubt, insecurity, and the ‘need to be right’ are what fuel conflict, hatred, killing and war.

Always keep in mind that when someone wants to argue with you, it comes from a place of self-doubt. They feel insecure because, subconsciously, they believe they are their point-of-view. This means that their ‘opinion’ and their ‘sense of self’ are combined into one and what remains is afeeling’ (not a ‘thought’) that any opposing opinion is a threat to them.

Remember, this is not a conscious process. Be kind and seek to understand them. Don’t let their nasty tone or attacks suck you into their unconsciousness.

People feel the need to strike-up and win an argument in order to protect themselves. What they really need is to simply have their point-of-view validated to eliminate their self-doubt. This happens for them when you are curious and willing to understand their point-of-view.

Once a person feels heard, they feel valued, their self-doubt is extinguished, and they become willing to listen because you (and your opinion) are no longer subconsciously perceived as a threat.

YOUR RECIPE FOR PEACE (STEP-BY-STEP)

The next time you feel the need to defend your position or argue with someone,

1 – Take a deep breath.

2 – Remind yourself, “I am NOT my point-of-view. I am the ‘Viewer’. I can look at Life from any point-of-view I choose. All points of view are valid but incomplete.”

3 – Recognize that it’s the presence of Self-Doubt that gives rise to the desire to argue. It’s a weed that needs to be pulled.

4 – Decide to remove the energy of Self-Doubt from the situation by being willing to see from the other person’s point-of-view.

5 – Remember you do not need to “agree” with their point-of-view, only understand it.

6- Allow yourself to be curious and ask questions to learn how to see what they see. Be genuinely interested in learning what life looks like from their vantage point. It’s like visiting another country.

7 – Validate their point-of-view by saying something like, “You make a valid point.” or “From this perspective, I can see now how you would think that” and then go on to add what else you see from their point-of-view in order to prove that you truly understand.

8 – Recognize that once you have helped this person to feel understood, you will have removed the energy of self-doubt from the situation. The other person will now likely be willing to see from your point-of-view as well. Everyone’s perspective is just a piece of a larger puzzle.

The more consistently you practice this at home and at work, the more peaceful and prosperous your life becomes.

It’s in your hands now.

Be at peace.

© 2014 Trent Janisch – thepoweryouare.com

 

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